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MANILA, Philippines -- Malacanang said the statements of Chief Justice Renato Corona made him the "best witness for the prosecution" and his non-disclosure of his $2.4 million dollars in at least four bank accounts proved him guilty of the impeachment charges against him.
"Mr. Corona has finally admitted what the impeachment court had wanted to find out. Had he withheld information from his SALN? He did. Did the information include dollar accounts? Yes," Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Friday.
"The issues have been joined. Mr. Corona has become the best witness for the prosecution. He has proven, by his demeanor and his very own statements, the validity of the charges against him, and provided evidence more than sufficient to determine his fate," Lacierda added.
Lacierda said that, based on Corona's own admission, he only reported P3.5 million in cash in his 2010 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
"Today, he admitted he has P80 million in the bank, and that furthermore, he has $2.4 million."
Corona clarified that the P80 million was not reflected in his SALN because this represented commingled funds from his family and those held by his wife in trust for family firm Basa-Guidote Enterprises.
He also said he did not declare his dollar accounts as these are covered by the absolute confidentiality provision of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act.
But Lacierda claimed Corona, in effect, was proposing that the FCDA, a 1974 law, supersedes the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
"He has made his legal legacy a ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’ for all officials who are plunderers and crooks. They will merely have to park their ill-gotten funds in foreign currency accounts to immunize themselves from the effects of our anti-graft laws," Lacierda